After a conversation at the HD8 Network Meet Up with David Broadhead last month, I now realise I did do an apprenticeship! I was an Intrapreneur!
Having worked from the age of 11 in numerous different roles, I have received an invaluable insight to how businesses operate.
Whilst at high school I had a number of jobs. The main one was at the Boulevard Restaurant, which during the summer and bank holidays, due to being in a seaside village, was extremely busy. In the early years I worked in the kiosk selling ice creams to those strolling down Shore Road. On a couple of extremely busy afternoon/evenings I was asked to do extra hours clearing tables, when the masses had left the beach and wanted feeding. From this I progressed to plating puddings working weekends and holidays between May and September. Towards the later years I stood pride of place behind the bar serving drinks and taking payment for bills most Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons and 8 days a week during the holidays – it honestly felt like it! Before I moved out of the village at the age of 17 I did do a few shifts there as a waitress too!
During this time I also worked in a bakery for my last few years in the village. One year I even worked in a car park! Earlier in my working career I worked in a café in Chi (the neighbouring city) and I even tried a paper round, but it was the free paper that was to be delivered to every house and was only paid something like 2p a paper, which I soon bored of (or was I too busy doing all the other jobs?) and tried to employ my brother to do it while he did his dog walking duties but he wasn’t that stupid either!
During the interlude of village and my adult life I was a live in waitress at Pontins Holiday Camp!
When I moved up’north I started my exploration into the office world and became an office junior. As far as I remember I mostly smoked a fag while making the bosses coffee, while they smoked their fags. Or I sent a fax or typed a letter for them while smoking a fag. Yes the job was so dull I did everything while smoking a fag to make it more of a challenge. Can you imagine! Now a days at most places you can’t even smoke near the work premises – even in the car parks!! Although, I can actually remember computerising the long and very boring manual stock control process which would take up days of my week to an excel sheet, that would just take a couple of hours (if that) to update.
As you will see from my Linkedin profile I then had a series of jobs which got more and more interesting as the years progressed while I tried to climb the slippery pole of progression, mostly moving sideways in order to get ahead. To my detriment I have found if you start at the bottom it is extremely hard for others to let you improve yourself!
However the benefit of starting from the bottom and doing the filing and the jobs that no one else wants to do, is the aspect you get; I got to see where everything fit and how it all worked.
I was then able to use this knowledge and experience to enable me to make suggestions and find better, more efficient ways of doing things. But unfortunately this was not always well received. I was there to make and take phone calls for example, not there to recommend procedural improvements.
I remember my Dad saying to me “keep your head down Merewyn and don’t upset your boss, no one will thank you for showing them a better way of doing their job”. But I was foolhardy and enthusiastic, I wanted to make a difference, wanted to share what I had learnt, I wanted to help. Eventually I was drained ….
Conveniently at that time I met my now husband and we talked about travelling and experiencing the world. Cutting a very long story (a bit) short(er) when we returned to the UK I tried applying for fancy titled jobs, but the recruitment agencies were telling me I couldn’t be put forward because I didn’t have a degree. I said that I was thinking about going back to university to get a degree, to which they’d say “what do you want to do that for you’ve got over 10 years (office) work experience?”, so I’d ask them if they’d in that case line me up with an interview for the aforementioned jobs. “No sorry” they said “you haven’t got a degree”. And with that I signed myself up for a Business Management Foundation Degree at Wakefield College, which I topped up at Huddersfield University, graduating with a Combined Studies Marketing and Strategy Degree.
How did I get on to my (work)life story? Oh yes Intrapreneur.
So David Broadhead, from Partners in Management was talking at the HD8 Network Meet Up networking event about Intrapreneurs being the new big thing that large organisations are starting to adopt. Motivating their staff allowing them, sorry embracing them, to have a voice in the way the work place and the procedures are formed.
David says “An Entrepreneur is an Intrapreneur that longer works for you …..” and that’s me!
Don’t get me wrong, I am obedient (to a point – but both my husband and father might disagree) and a consciences worker, but I have decided to be valued for the recommendations and difference I can make for my clients, rather than be scared of losing my job because I have upset someone’s ego.
For the past 8 years I have been self employed working with small businesses, helping them to focus on what they do best. Initially this was simply admin based, but when I graduated from my degree I then started to assist with their strategy and marketing plans, as well as implementing tactics which include email marketing, social media and website management, public relations amongst many others.
So if you would like to enrich your business with my wealth of experience as an Intrapreneur, knowledge gained from my (mature student) degree and 8 years of finally becoming an Entrepreneur let’s have a no obligation chat.